Will they be ready? An internal FBI memo warned that armed far-right groups plan to march on state capitals this weekend, raising the specter of last Wednesday’s violence on a national scale. Capitol Police also reportedly briefed lawmakers on plots to surround the building and assassinate Democrats and some Republicans. Up to 15,000 National Guard troops are prepared to deploy to Washington, D.C., before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, and Mayor Muriel Bowser has advised people to steer clear of the city. Meanwhile, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf resigned yesterday, the third Cabinet member to do so since the Capitol attack.
House members will meet today to vote on a resolution urging President Donald Trump’s Cabinet to remove him using the 25th Amendment for fomenting the Capitol attack. Should that fail, they’ll vote tomorrow to impeach him a second time. While Trump has been largely silent in the attack’s aftermath, Rep. Kevin McCarthy told his fellow House Republicans that the president privately admitted he bears some responsibility for his supporters’ deadly assault. And yesterday Vice President Mike Pence, who alone can initiate the Cabinet vote, reportedly held his first meeting with Trump since the pair stopped speaking last week.
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3. Indian Court Delays Farm Laws, Cheering Activists
They’ve sowed some doubt. Farmers have braved harsh winter conditions to demonstrate on the outskirts of Delhi for more than a month, and today it paid off: The country’s Supreme Court temporarily stopped implementation of three new farming laws intended to modernize agriculture, though protesters argue they weaken price guarantees and empower corporations. The court will establish a committee to broker a settlement between the farmers and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration. Calling the government’s response “extremely disappointing” and noting a number of demonstrators’ deaths, Chief Justice Sharad Bobde said, “We don't want anybody's blood on our hands.”
Is something wrong? In what’s seemed like an alternate universe of investing during the pandemic, economic downturn and America’s political upheaval, there was an inkling of doubt yesterday. Stocks that had been in record territory dipped on Wall Street, led by Twitter plunging 6.4 percent on fears that silencing @realDonaldTrump could spark a regulatory backlash. Meanwhile, more U.S. corporations, including American Express and AT&T, stopped contributions to politicians, with some specifically targeting those sowing doubts about the Nov. 3 election. Kansas-based Hallmark is demanding its money back from the state’s two GOP senators.
Coronavirus Update: With U.S. deaths averaging 3,000 per day and new infections 200,000 per day, experts are warning that January could be even deadlier than December’s record pandemic surge.
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On the one hand, there was Eugene Goodman. Caught on video by a reporter who was steps behind him, the Black Iraq War veteran may have saved lives at great personal risk. Guarding a hallway leading to the Senate floor, Goodman provoked a Capitol rioter with a shove, then climbed stairs away from the chamber’s entrance. The crowd chased him, buying those inside time to escape. Two other officers were suspended, however — one accused of posing for selfies with rioters and the other of donning a MAGA hat and directing the invaders — and a dozen are under investigation.
It’s an anti-attack hack. An anonymous researcher identified only as @donk_enby has become a data hero, capturing most of the “free speech” site’s content before it went dark Sunday. She began with copying incriminating Parler posts from the day of the Capitol attack, but with tech companies targeting the platform, she worked frantically to log 99 percent of its content — everything from ballot fraud conspiracy theories to death threats against politicians, plus metadata including the locations of videos. She hopes the 56 terabytes of data will help investigators track down Capitol attackers and others intent on doing harm.
They’ve broken the ice. Prime Minister Modi, leader of the world’s third-biggest polluter, said in December that India will meet its Paris climate accord commitments and then some. But at the same time, the energy-hungry nation is plowing into Russia’s vulnerable Arctic regions, prospecting for coal, oil and gas, OZY reports. It’s seen as India’s bid to break the shackles of Australian coal suppliers and oil and gas providers in other regions, but conservationists warn that it’s putting pressure on a landscape that’s already threatened by mineral extraction and global warming.
Trying to “induce national calm NOW,” Cumulus Media, the company that owns the Westwood One radio network, is reining in election fraud misinformation. A leaked memo from the Atlanta-based company, which signs the paychecks of right-wing talk radio stars Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, said Cumulus “will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended.” Those who violate the policy “can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Last week’s Capitol attack has many wondering if the fallout of harmful conspiracy theories will do lasting harm to America’s free expression.
5. Belichick Shuns Trump, Who’s ‘Gutted’ by PGA Snub
“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy.” That’s the reason New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick gave for backing out of accepting a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Initially “flattered” by the offer from the president he’s supported, the six-time Super Bowl winner said he’d decline the medal after “the tragic events of last week.” Trump presented medals to golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player the day after the Capitol riot, which spurred the PGA Championship to cancel plans to use Trump’s New Jersey golf course — reportedly leaving Trump feeling “gutted.”